Corona x NUST
If I were to describe the evening of March 13, 2020, I would call it a pit of panic, with bursts of melancholy scattered all around. Everyone was tired from the long weeks: while some had to tackle the grueling assignments and juries, others were in the hassle of preparing for their mid-term exams looming ahead. It was chaotic within, and the chaos spread across the outer world did not help in decreasing the level of restlessness in the student body.
Thus, all awaited Friday with bated breath, for it was the most glorious of days with a promising weekend ahead. Some were to rush to their homes, others to just take a break and find some calm in all the chaos. I, too, had plans with a close friend, but the overall anxious environment did not leave me feeling up for anything social, and thus, I had to apologize and cancel them on spot.
Something just did not feel right. Several others agreed with my thoughts. In our daily routine, we were quite used to hearing about Coronavirus through the meme culture, and much effectively ignored it in our serious conversations. While some people were rushing to stock up on masks, sanitizers, and tissues, others were quite indifferent and couldn’t care less of the issue. However, no matter what, it ticked like a clock in the back of our minds. The hype-creating portrayal through social media constantly injected anxiety in our systems.
A few hours back, we had learnt of LUMS being shut down for prevention against the spread of Corona. Then, we witnessed it ourselves: Jummah prayers being discontinued at the central mosque, events upon events being postponed and delayed, candidates of NET’20 receiving emails of admission tests being postponed. It felt like a full domino effect that was bound to end only after stopping everything in the end.
Returning home after a lazy day was still not quite serene, as there hung an uncertainty in the air: what was to become of the whole situation? Several universities were being shut down to prevent the spread of the virus, and we all awaited for a statement from NUST. This was especially the case for students with a midterm exam due on Saturday, who spent the entire Friday night facing one dilemma: to prepare or not to prepare? Finally, at night, the NUST administration themselves announced holidays from March 14, 2020 to April 5, 2020. Moreover, a timeframe of 2 days was given to hostelites to vacate the campus hostels. While impromptu holidays are now quite a normal thing for the residents of the twin cities (courtesy of the frequent dharnay at Faizabad), this one struck quite differently. Maybe it was the situation of the world, the seriousness of the pandemic , or just our inability to make out anything positive from the chaos.
The government decided to take further steps around March 31, after observing the state of the country. For now, many universities have announced a break till the end of May, while some – including NUST – have begun conducting classes online. We really hope the entire situation is soon under control, so that we may be able to sit under the single roof of NUST, just as we always did, In Sha Allah!